964 days between drinks

At last Australia opened the border to cruise ships and the first Princess vessel to visit Sydney was the Majestic Princess. She had sailed from Vancouver via Los Angeles, Tahiti and New Zealand to be based in Sydney for the southern summer.
Maureen and I had sailed in this ship in 2017 from Rome (Civitavecchia is the port for Rome) to Singapore.
In 2017 she had been ‘fitted out’ for the Chinese market because it was intended that the Majestic would be based in China.
She was based in China until Covid arrived in 2019/20 when the global cruise industry shut down.
Our memory of the Rome to Singapore cruise was not a hundred percent positive for various reasons, so we boarded the vessel on the 20th October of this year wondering what if anything had changed.

Princess marketed the cruise well and offered various incentives to join the ships for an eleven-night cruise to Cairns and back calling at various places of interest. The price we right so we bought a mini-suit, which included free drinks, free wi-fi, and onboard currency. The above shows the mini-suit and in the bathroom, we had a shower over a bath. We never felt cramped.

The above is the view from our balcony the day we boarded.

The main public area of the ship – the Atrium.

The ambiance of the whole ship had changed since our first trip in 2017 and in our opinion for the better. Additional bars had been added in various parts of the ship, so the bar areas were not as crowded as 2017 and it was easy to find a seat.

The Wake Bar overlooking the stern – not at all crowded.

                                       Part of the outside swimming area –

Other end of the pool area – note the large screen for those who were doing various Eastern exercises in the morning. The screen was used all day to show films or sporting matches and there were plenty of stewards to help with the drinks.

Princess has a new ‘system’ – the Medallion – which is free to all passengers. It is circular and has a code embedded in the unit.
The ship has its own ‘internet’ and if you use the Medallion with your mobile phone linked to the ship’s system you can order a drink via your phone,  (I think you click on a picture) the steward will know who you are and where you are even if you move from the location of the order.
We did not use our phones on board.
I kept the Medallion unit in my pocket and as I approached a bar I would be greeted by name and asked for my order.

The above picture show what the barman would see as you approached the bar for a drink – I think the left computer, and the images on the left of that computer – the second one down is your truly.
When you sign into the system (before boarding) you add a recent photograph of just your face and this comes up on the bar person’s computer screen. It worked well and helped breakdown any barriers with the staff.
A big plus for us was that as we approached the door of our cabin it unlocked for us to enter – and when we left in the morning for breakfast the cabin steward would be aware that the cabin was empty and available for cleaning.
The cabin would be cleaned while we were at breakfast regardless of the time that we left. We only saw the cabin steward once one morning as he was finishing placing clean towels in the bathroom, because we had returned early.
The system was efficient.
The unit does not have any personal information on it, nor does it indicate your cabin number, so if you lose it, it will not be a problem, the desk staff just replace the unit.
At the end of the voyage the unit stays with you as it is used to disembark from the ship and it is yours to keep if you wish. The unit can be used as a fridge magnet. The units are free to all passengers.
I kept my unit in my right pocket because I have a pacemaker and had read that the unit (being magnetic) should not be too close to the pace maker. It was not a problem carrying the unit in my pocket.The ship also had an indoor pool with controlled air temperatures – never too hot never too cold.

                                                  Vines Bar – our favourite
We would be at this bar for a drink before dinner. The staff were from the Philippine and their skill at mixing various drinks was very entertaining and they never had any cocktail left over when they had finished – the measures were always just right.

After we had seen a show, we would drop into the Crown Grill Bar

The dining room that we used most nights-  as we entered the Maitre d‘ always asked if we were willing to share a table – sometimes we asked for a table for two because we wished to see a show and we knew it would be popular, so we wanted a fast meal.
Most nights we agreed to share up to six, from experience anymore and one could not hear everyone.
Six was just right and we met some very funny and interesting people. Our dining companions were from Canada, various US States and of course Australians. We met one lady from Canada she was coming up to her fifty-fifth day on the ship and was due to fly home when we returned to Sydney.
On sea days we would also go to the restaurant for breakfast and lunch.
All the staff wore face masks, but passenger had the choice. We carried a face mask just in case, but never had to put it on. A few passengers wore facemasks outside of their cabins.
There had been about 100 passengers (out of 3600) who had been refused permission to land in Tahiti because they showed a positive result on arrival. If they were positive, then by the time they reached Sydney they were clean and as far as I know we did not have a single positive case of Covid.

We were late sailing and it had grown dark and most of the passengers were in various dining rooms for their evening meal, so I do not think many took part in the Sail Away deck party.
I took the above picture from our balcony around 6.00am the day after we sailed. As you see the sea was calm. and the ship was steady.

Two days later off the Queensland coast – once again a 6.00 am picture with an unusual wake. It was beautiful weather for the rest of the cruise and pleasantly warm.

Our itinerary was to be Airlie Beach, followed by Yorkeys Knob, Port Douglas, Willis Island, Brisbane, and finally home to Sydney.
I plan to do a post for each place we visited.

%d bloggers like this: